Showing posts with label blog. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blog. Show all posts

01 January 2015

My Top 10 Nail Art Posts of 2014

Hi everyone! Happy New Year! This year has really been a struggle for me in terms of blogging. In between my almost two month hiatus to finish my dissertation, and my busy schedule these last 2-3 months to build my indie brand, I didn't post as much as I had hoped. Many of my blog goals from the beginning of the year were not achieved, which is why I won't be making blog goals for 2015. Despite that, looking back at this year's posts, I can see my nail art improving by leaps and bounds. I was also surprised by the variety and the risks I took to try new things, instead of sticking to what I felt I was good at.

I started with over two dozen designs that I felt were very strong. And I was able to narrow that down to only ten. So these are the designs that really stood out, designs where I felt I pushed my creative abilities. I hope you enjoy! Click on the titles to be taken to the original post.

05 June 2014

I've Been Quiet, But I'm Not Gone...

Hi everyone! You may or may not have noticed, but it's been weeks since my last post. Maybe you never noticed, and now you're thinking "yeah, where's she been?" or maybe you did notice and you thought I gave up on the whole blogging thing. Well I thought I'd drop in to let you know that I'm still here, that I still love this blog and love blogging, and that I'm still grateful for you as readers of this blog.

05 January 2014

My Blogging Goals for 2014

Hi everyone! If you have been following this blog for awhile, you may already know that I love setting goals. But I may have outdone myself this time! But it's like that expression, "go big or go home"...right!?

Last year in January, I had no expectations. I had no idea what this blog would be. I just wanted to keep doing it because I knew it was good for me (I was going through a major depression at the time). This year is different. I've put a lot of hard work into this blog. I realized I really enjoy blogging, and it's given me a sense of purpose that I don't always get from my PhD work. I've also started a small business that came out of this blog - okay, not a profitable business, but a business nonetheless.

When it comes to my blogging goals for this year, I've thought about the kind of blog I want to have, and the quality of the work that I want to produce. I'm reluctant to make goals like "I want x number of followers on Facebook/Instagram/Tumblr etc." What if I don't achieve those goals? There's always the fear that people will stop following or reading your blog, at least with me there is. Which is why I don't want my happiness to be tied to numbers. I'm going to try to focus on the quality of my work and the quality of my interactions with people.

So enough of my babbling, here's my goals in no particular order...

30 December 2013

Year in Review: The Best of Will Paint Nails for Food for 2013

Hi everyone! I got  back from my holiday vacation late Saturday night, and after a lazy Sunday of watching Angel and eating holiday cookies, I figured it was high time to get some end of the year posts out. I've been wanting to do a year in review post since my blog anniversary at the end of November, but it got delayed and somehow it just seemed fitting to save it until the end of the calendar year.

I've gone through 13 months of blogging and picked out my favourite posts from each month. Since I didn't do a round up post last year, I've also included what I did in December of 2012. These aren't the most popular posts in terms of page views - instead they represent important milestones, nail art breakthroughs, and manis that just stood out.

So read on to find out my picks for each month! And maybe some of these are your favourites as well...

05 November 2013

Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp: Week Five: Editing Nail Photos

The Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp is a series of posts published once a week on Monday evenings (or Tuesday morning when trying to edit video). It is designed for new bloggers, those thinking of starting a blog, or seasoned bloggers wanting a refresher, and covers everything from starting a blog to photographing your nails to using social media. Check out past posts in this series.

Hi bloggers! Before I get into talking about editing, I want to let you know that the bootcamp will be on hiatus next Monday. Next week I'll be doing a week-long challenge with the Digit-al Dozen, so the bootcamp will return two weeks from today on November 18th.

Editing can be a touchy subject, especially when it comes to photographs being "honest." For that reason this post may sound a tad bit more formal at times...

Bloggers vary greatly in the amount of editing that they do. Some might simply crop and watermark their photographs, while others will rotate, adjust levels, crop, add text, even frames. The purpose of this post is to show you the different editing tools that are at your disposal. And since seeing someone else's process can be helpful, I'll go through my own process of editing my photos.

29 October 2013

Beginning Blogger's Bootcamp: Week Four: Taking Nail Photos

The Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp is a series of posts published once a week on Monday evenings. It is designed for new bloggers, those thinking of starting a blog, or seasoned bloggers wanting a refresher, and covers everything from starting a blog to photographing your nails to using social media. Check out past posts in this series.

Hi bloggers! After blog design, good, clear photographs are essential to creating a strong first impression for new visitors to your site. Because photographs are so important, I've actually split the topic into two posts - today I'm going to cover what goes into taking a good photograph, and next week I'll cover editing.

22 October 2013

Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp: Week Three: Blog Design

The Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp is a series of posts published once a week on Monday evenings. It is designed for new bloggers, those thinking of starting a blog, or seasoned bloggers wanting a refresher, and covers everything from starting a blog to photographing your nails to using social media. Check out past posts in this series.

Hi bloggers! Blog design was something I had not originally planned to deal with in this series. Yet, last week when I was writing about blogging platforms, it became clear to me that it was something that needed to be addressed. New bloggers often feel letdown by a lack of visitors to their blog. They concern themselves with the quality of their photographs or needing to show the latest polishes. But one thing that is often overlooked is blog design.

20 October 2013

A Special Announcement: I've Joined The Digit-al Dozen!

Hi everyone! I'm very excited to announce that I'm now an official member of The Digit-al Dozen! Not only that but I'm joining at the same time as my nail art partner-in-crime Lindsey from Wondrously Polished. I could have simply posted a quick announcement on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, but I decided to take this opportunity to tell you about The Digit-al Dozen, and what this change means for the blog.

What is The Digit-al Dozen?

Despite the name, The Digit-al Dozen is a group of 24 awesome nail polish bloggers, mostly from North America, but some from Europe and the UK. They do a nail art challenge once a month, running for five days in a row (Monday-Friday). Each month has a different theme, and they'll interpret that theme with five different nail art designs.

Recently they've expanded and have started a blog, along with a Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, etc. They've done some interesting posts including "What Camera Do You Use?": a roundup of the types of cameras used by various members;  and "A Dozen Nail Art Tools": where they talk about the nail art supplies they can't live without. In the near future they'll be posting nail art tutorials, as well as posts on favourite nail polishes, nail care, and related topics.

The blog aims to be a go-to site for nail art and nail polish, and what I think is awesome is that it draws on the knowledge of 24 bloggers. And of course it couldn't happen without the feedback of readers. So any suggestions for future posts and what you'd like to see would be very welcome.

Why I'm Excited to Join The Digit-al Dozen 
...and What It Means For This Blog

I remember earlier this year when I first heard about The Digit-al Dozen, I thought to myself "What a cool group, I'd love to be part of that someday!" So imagine my surprise when I was approached and asked to join. Unfortunately it's a closed group and they're not accepting new members, but it does go to show that if you work hard you can achieve your blogging goals.

I'm also excited because I really like the new Digit-al Dozen blog. I think it's clear from my Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp that I enjoy thinking about blogging, and how to make blogs stronger. So I really am looking forward to this new direction in the group.

So what that means for this blog is that once a month for a week I'll be posting nail art designs around a specific theme. I've come to realize that I need challenges like this in order to continue doing nail art - it's easy to get into the habit of always posting swatches, and the challenges push me to break that habit.

So if you enjoy tuning in for my nail art, you should like this new direction in this blog! Our next challenge is in November, so make sure to check it out!

In the meantime, you can keep up with The Digit-al Dozen in the following ways:

And I also want to thank all of you for continuing to support this blog! These developments wouldn't be possible without you. :)

15 October 2013

Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp: Week Two: Blogging Platforms

Follow my blog with Bloglovin The Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp is a series of posts published once a week on Monday evenings. It is designed for new bloggers, those thinking of starting a blog, or seasoned bloggers wanting a refresher, and covers everything from starting a blog to photographing your nails to using social media. Check out past posts in this series.

Hi bloggers! Welcome to the second post of the Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp! I remember when I was contemplating starting a blog and trying to decide what blogging platform to use. It can be a stressful decision because switching platforms is not very easy. If you haven't yet started your blog you may be in the same boat. And if you have started your blog, you may find some food for thought in this post if you are considering a change.

But first I thought I'd start off with my own experience with different blogging platforms. Several years ago I decided to start a blog about baking. I guess I wanted to be the next Rose Levy Beranbaum. When I set up that blog I went with because I was attracted to the clean and contemporary look of the site. That blog didn't last long for reasons that have little to do with the platform - I simply couldn't keep up with the amount of work that it took, and I felt down about the lack of followers and interaction.

Later when I got into nail polish blogging, I wanted to avoid the mistakes I made with food blogging so I decided to go with Tumblr. As a "microblogging" platform Tumblr appealed to me because I thought that it would not take up too much of my time. Ironically, after three months of posting on Tumblr I realized I wanted to put more time into blogging. Hence my decision to move over to Blogger. Why did I go with Blogger? I noticed that many of the blogs I followed used Blogger, and with things like Google Friend Connect (GFC) I thought it would be easier to get followers (yes and no - but that's another blog post!).

So the purpose of this post is to go over the major blogging platforms and the pros and cons of each. I'll also talk about micro-blogging as an alternative to having a "real" blog. One thing I won't do is go over the ins and outs of setting up a blog, but there are plenty of other sources that do that.

Blogging Platforms

When it comes to blogging platforms you have two major types - hosted and self-hosted options. Hosted blogs are where the blog company keeps your blog and all its information on their own servers. These include Blogger and, and they are usually free. A self-hosted blog is one where you install the blogging software on your own server - so you must also get your own hosting package and server before you set up your blog.

There are many options when it comes to blogging platforms but I'm only going to go over the main ones that nail polish bloggers use - Blogger,, and Other options include Typepad, Moveable Type, and Live Journal, but since these are not as popular in this niche, I'll leave you to research these on your own.


Blogger is one of the most popular blogging platforms, and markets itself as being easy to use. It is a hosted blogging platform so it is free. Your domain name will have blogspot in it (ex., or you have the option of purchasing your own domain name (ex.

The Blogger Dashboard - also functions as a blog reader for other blogs you follow

  • It is very easy to set up and use - in order to start blogging you just need to set up an account and choose a template, then you're ready to start blogging!
  • There's the ability to follow other bloggers through Google Friend Connect (GFC).
  • Many nail polish bloggers use Blogger so it can be easy to follow other blogs through Google Friend Connect.
  • You can customize your blog fairly easily by adding widgets and rearranging the template.
  • There's a template wizard so you can customize your design without having to know any HTML
  • It's free!
  • The homepage is not very interesting and could use some updating (in my opinion).
  • There seems to be little support from Google (who owns Blogger) in terms of upgrades - for example when Google Reader was shut down earlier this year, many have speculated that GFC will also be cut.
  • If you want to switch from a domain name with blogspot in it, to a custom domain name (ex., you have to go through a third party site - a web hosting company. It's not too difficult but if you don't have much tech skills you may have to contact tech support to get everything set up properly (that was my experience).
  • Although you can customize your look with the template wizard, if you want something more unique, this requires knowing HTML and other coding - or hiring someone to do design work for you.

Wordpress is the other popular option when it comes to hosted blogging platforms. It's free to use, but there is also the option to upgrade to the premium service if you want more space for photos and videos.

The Wordpress Dashboard - has more components than the Blogger dashboard. Functions as a reader for Wordpress blogs that you follow, also allows you to search blogs by tags, and Wordpress suggests new blogs to follow. The Freshly Pressed page shows interesting posts on Wordpress blogs on a wide variety of topics.

  • It is very easy to set up an account and to write posts. Like Blogger typing up a post is no different than typing up a word document. And side note, I like that Wordpress actually gives you a word count for your blog posts, it helps to tell you if your posts are getting too long and wordy.
  • Has a new "quick post form" from the Wordpress homepage. Basically it is a very quick way to put up content on your blog, and is very similar to a micro-blogging platform.
  • The homepage is very clean and contemporary looking. It easily allows you to find new blogs and Wordpress suggests other blogs to follow.
  • Switching your domain name from "" to "" is very easy and is done within Wordpress. No need to go through a web hosting company!
  • Your choice of almost 300 themes, and the ability to customize it without the need to learn coding. (Wordpress has a "custom design" upgrade for $30/year which gives you advanced design options - if you think you might pay for a premium template, or design work, this may be a viable option)
  • Easily allows you to share posts via social media - when you publish a post there's an option to "publicize" it on Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, and Twitter. With Blogger you would have to use a third-party site like NetworkedBlogs.
  • With any hosted blog platform, you are at the mercy of the company if something goes wrong or if they do an update that you don't like.
  • When getting your own domain name, since you buy the domain from Wordpress, you don't get to shop around for a better deal. However, you could probably buy your own from a web hosting company if you really wanted to (it's just more work)
  • The amount of webspace they give you with the free option (3,072MB) might not be enough space especially if you include a lot of photos and videos and you've been blogging for awhile. (self-hosted)

When it comes to having a self-hosted blog, it requires a lot more work in terms of set up. However, once it's done it's done! Also there's more costs associated with having a self-hosted blog including the costs for the domain name, web hosting, and if you need to hire someone to set up your blog or do design work for you. However, if you are serious about blogging, and know you are in it for the long haul, can be a great option.

  • is considered by many bloggers (and books on blogging) to be the best option for professional blogs. 
  • It is fully customizable. You can set it up the way you want it.
  • There are many free themes available, and you can get a premium theme for very little (approx. $30-50 - cheaper than hiring a designer)
  • You can build your website to be as big or small as you want it. In fact can also be used to build websites, so if you want a blog as part of a larger website, might be the best option.
  • It is more complicated to set up, although the website seems to have lots of great instructions and support. Also many web hosting companies offer easy installation options for a Wordpress blog.
  • If stuff goes wrong with the web hosting company it could mean your blog is down for the afternoon, also you will be responsible for dealing with the company to fix it.

If you are thinking about going this route, I suggest getting a book on Wordpress, luckily there are many on the topic.


If the idea of setting up, and maintaining, a blog feels daunting to you, you should check out microblogging. A microblog is different from a regular blog in that the files are shorter and smaller (in terms of data). Some of the most popular include Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Microblogging is perfect if you are just interested in posting pictures of your nails, but have no interest in the other aspects of blogging - setting up a website, publicizing your blog, and posting descriptions about yourself and your blog. Some platforms allow for comments, others don't. Take time to check out each site to see what feels like a fit for you. Or you might already feel comfortable with something, like Instagram, so starting a "nails-only" IG account might feel very natural to you.


Tumblr allows you to post photos, texts, and videos. You can post multiple photos, but there are limitations in how you can format them. You can follow other Tumblr blogs and other bloggers can follow you, but in order to interact with a blogger on Tumblr (i.e. to like a post) you must have a Tumblr account. People will like your posts and/or reblog them, meaning they post your post to their blog. There are Tumblr blogs devoted to sharing nail art and nail polish posts, and if your post gets picked up by these blogs then a lot more people will see your work and potentially follow you!

The Tumblr Dashboard - shows recent posts by Tumblr blogs you follow, and options for publishing a new post

Tumblr also has this great thing called the nail art tag. There are nail art editors appointed by Tumblr (Alice of One Nails to Rule Them All is one) and they find good nail art on Tumblr and tag it with this special nail art tag. Then your work can be seen in the nail art section, which is like a gallery of great nail art from other Tumblr blogs. If your work gets tagged by the nail art editors, it will be seen by a lot of people (and I mean A LOT!)

Tumblr blogs are very easy to maintain. The posts are generally very short, and while you might get some questions in your mailbox, you don't really have comments to respond to like you would on a regular blog. That can be great if you don't have a lot of time to respond to people, but it can also feel isolating.


Facebook is something that is very familiar to people since many of us have an account that we use to keep up with friends and family. Facebook can be used as a microblogging platform with its "status updates" that allow you to post pictures and short text. Facebook can be a great way to promote your blog and to keep up with other blogs, but if you plan to use it as your microblogging platform, I advise you to approach with caution.

Think of how you find bloggers - for me, it's either because someone has shared their work or because I was doing a search and found their blog. On Facebook it is very difficult to find new pages, I usually only find new pages when a page I follow shares their post. The Facebook search feature is very limited. If you want to find people who do nail art tutorials, and you do a search for "nail art tutorials" you will only find pages called "Nail Art Tutorials" (or a variation of that), but you won't find pages that post nail art tutorials but have a different name. Make sense?

In short, if you really enjoy using Facebook and want to use it to post your nail art or nail polish pictures, do so with caution. Work hard to share your posts with other pages, but only if it's relevant. For example if you do a nice nail art design using OPI polishes, you can post it to the OPI page and hopefully others will see it. If you find you aren't getting a lot of followers on Facebook, consider changing platforms.


Instagram (IG for short) has become very popular for nail artist and swatchers. For me it is my social media outlet of choice because it's easy to use and it's a great way to get instant feedback on your photos. There are many Instagrammers who use IG exclusively and do not have a separate blog.

Instagram is very simple to use. You take a photo with your phone or upload one from your computer. Then you post it and add a simple caption. Some instagrammers will add longer captions, for example when posting a tutorial. People can like or comment on your photos - you can make your profile public or private depending your preferences. Adding hashtags can make it easy for people to find your posts. If you use simple hastags like #nailpolish, #indiepolish, #nailart, etc. people searching those terms will see your photos (but only if your profile is public).

Instagram has made it easy for people to find your account and for you to find other accounts. People find new accounts three ways: by searching common hashtags, by seeing whose photos their friends have liked, and if your photo is shared by a popular nail art account. Regarding the latter, there are nail art accounts devoted to sharing good nail art and crediting the original poster (you!). If you have clear photos and good technique, it is likely that you can get your photos shared by a bigger account.


Twitter is the one I'm least familiar with, but out of the four it is the most micro of the microblogging platforms. That is because you are limited to 140 characters when you post something. However, you can also upload photos, videos and links. So you could upload a photo of a nail art design with a short explanation: "My freehand Halloween nail art using all OPI polishes!" You can connect with other nail artists and bloggers on Twitter and share or "retweet" things that others have posted.

My initial impression of Twitter is that a lot of bloggers use it as a social media platform, but I don't know how many nail artists and swatchers are using it as a microblogging platform on its own. It seems very easy to use and to search for other nail artists and bloggers. Whether people will share/retweet your content is something I don't know the answer to. If Twitter is something that you already feel comfortable with, starting a nails only account might be a good option for you.

Final Thoughts

This post is a very long one, but I wanted to be thorough about each platform. If you are not sure what blogging platform to use, you can always test drive a few before choosing whatever feels best for you. Also remember that it is possible to switch later if you really feel you made the wrong choice. I moved over to Blogger very easily. Also many blogging platforms have an import option to move your old blog over to the new site.

If you are still having a hard time deciding, go back and think about your reasons for wanting to blog. How important is blog design to you? Do you want to post photos without the "other" stuff getting in the way? What kind of technical skills do you have? How much time do you want to spend on blog set up and design?

Let's Hear Your Thoughts!

If you haven't yet started a blog, what platform are you thinking of using? And if you are already blogging, what platform do you use and why?

See also:
Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp: Week One: Starting Your Blog
Introducing the Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp: Kickstart Your Nail Polish Blog!

Further reading:
Blogging For Dummies, 4th edition, by Susannah Gardner and Shane Birley (goes through the steps of setting up a blog on Blogger, Wordpress and Tumblr)
ProBlogger, 3rd edition, by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett (explains how to set up a self-hosted Wordpress blog)

09 October 2013

September Goals Recap

Hi everyone! Things are going to be quieter around here this week. You may have noticed that it's been a few days since I've posted a mani for the 31 Day Challenge. Lindsey and I have decided to take a short break - we'll resume our challenge next week. Also I have some work stuff going on that is commanding my attention.

31 Day Challenge: Day Nineteen

So I thought I'd take this time to recap my goals from September. I'm not setting any new blogging goals for October, because with the 31 Day Challenge and the Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp, I feel now is the time to carry out my goals, not add more work by setting new goals.

If you are new to this blog, I like to set blogging goals each month, although lately it's been somewhat sporadic and irregular. But I find that setting goals helps keep me motivated and focused on what is most important. The trick is to make sure the goals are manageable, reasonable, and that you're not pushing yourself too much.

Different Dimension Good Evening Clarice (Halloween 2013)

Curious to see how I did with my September goals? Read on...

September Recap

Goal #1: Complete two tutorials, either video or photo. Fail! I did one tutorial, but in my defence it was  very time consuming! I did my Ethereal Dreamcatcher nails at the end of September.

Goal #2: Begin a new series of posts - tentatively titled "Beginner Blogger's Boot Camp." Check! I procrastinated a lot and was very nervous about starting this series, so I left it until the last minute. But I published the introductory post at the end of September, and I'm very glad I took the plunge. I've been overwhelmed by the response and I really enjoy putting together the posts for this series.

Goal #3: Continue to post 6 days a week. Pass. I was able to do this most weeks, but there was one week (maybe two) where I only posted five days a week. I'm not too disappointed that I didn't complete this goal. 

31 Day Challenge: Day Seventeen

My Most Popular Posts - As Determined By You!

These are my posts with the highest pageviews:
Ethereal Dreamcatcher Nails (and a tutorial)

Stats, Stats, Stats

So how did this blog do over the month of September? Since I didn't jot down the numbers at the very beginning of the month, I'm making an estimate. I'm sure my Enchanted Polish giveaway at the beginning of September had something to do with the numbers, but I'm happy to see that people are sticking around after the giveaway. Or maybe you're just waiting around for my one year blogiversary giveaway! ;)

31 Day Challenge: Day Twenty-Two

As of the beginning of the month we had approximately 700 GFC followers, 740 on Bloglovin', 1340 on Facebook, 7700 on Instagram, and 3000 on Tumblr! Pageviews were slightly down with 27K views in the month of September. Check out last month's recap to compare the numbers. :)

I'm very excited by all of this. Pretty soon my day job is going to get busier and it's the little things - the feedback I get from you, new followers, a popular nail art design - that keeps me motivated. 

I'd like to hear from you. Did you set any blogging goals? If so, how did you do?

07 October 2013

Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp: Week One: Starting Your Blog

Hi bloggers! Welcome to the first week of the Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp! Are you as excited as I am?! ;) If you missed the introductory post for this series, make sure to check that out.

Perhaps the most logical starting point for a new blog is to ask yourself two things:

Why do I want to blog?
What is my blogging niche?

I'm assuming because you are here, you are either thinking about starting a nail polish related blog, or have recently started a nail polish related blog. So by blogging niche, I mean your focus within nail polish blogging. With so many polish blogs, knowing why you want to blog and what your focus will be, will help set your blog apart from the many other polish blogs out there.

Now maybe you're having a hard time determining your specific focus, or even why you're blogging in the first place (besides wanting to post your nails on the internet). That doesn't mean you stop blogging, or delay starting a blog until you figure things out. It just means that you keep these questions in mind and think about them seriously.

A blog is always a work in progress. When I first started blogging over a year ago, my reasons for blogging were simple: I liked reading polish blogs and wanted one of my own because I thought it would be a fun hobby. My focus was pretty general - to take swatch photos of the polishes in my collection, and to document my attempts at nail art. A little over a year later, my focus is still pretty broad - swatches, reviews, and nail art (with better pictures!). And my reasons for blogging are to provide honest and straightforward reviews of polishes with clear swatch photos, and to show nail art that inspires others. Ask me one year from now, and my responses may be different. I am still thinking of my own answers to the questions I posed above.

My very first blog post (link). Everyone starts somewhere!

Why Blog?

There are many different reasons for wanting to blog, here are just some. They are not all polish-specific:

  • As an outlet for a hobby or passion (this is the reason why many people start polish blogs)
  • To document a journey (i.e. training for an event, getting out of debt)
  • As part of a business
  • To make money (if this is your goal you may want to rethink starting a polish blog!)
  • To get free samples and polishes (also not a good reason to start a blog, I'll explain why in a future post)
  • To connect with like-minded people
  • To provide information

Defining Your Niche

Blogging about nail polish and nail art is already a very small niche within the larger niche of beauty blogs. Yet there are so many polish blogs out there. It's safe to say that polish blogging is an oversaturated niche. Does this mean you shouldn't start your blog? No, it just means you're going to have to work harder to set yourself apart from the other polish blogs out there.

One way to do that is to have a focus that will make you unique. Perhaps you have a very distinctive style of nail art. Or maybe you love indie polish and your goal is to seek out and discover new indie brands and feature them on your blog. Or perhaps you want to focus on the latest trends in nails and nail art. Or maybe you have training as a nail tech and want to write about nail care.

Many people start a polish blog with the general idea that they want to share their manis on the internet, and then they get disappointed because they don't have a lot of followers or visitors to their blog. Don't make that mistake. Think about what you can offer that will make your blog stand out from other nail polish blogs.

*Exercise #1: Imagine Your Dream Blog*
Take a few minutes to brainstorm and imagine what your dream blog looks like. Think about the following:
-How many followers will you have?
-How will you interact with your readers?
-What will be your focus?
-What will the design look like? The photos?
-How often will you post?
-Who will be your main audience?

*Exercise #2: What makes a blog unique?*
Write down your three favourite blogs, the ones that you visit again and again. What makes those blogs stand out for you? What do they offer that you don't get from other blogs? Why do you enjoy visiting them on a regular basis?

Advice: Now that you've envisioned your dream blog and looked at your blogging heros, you might be feeling a bit discouraged. Don't! Everyone starts somewhere. Just remember, it's okay to start small, don't let your dream blog stop you from starting a blog. Just take small steps, and build it up as you go along. Your blog doesn't have to be perfect when you launch it.
Some of my blogging and writing books

How Much Time Will It Take?

Now that we've looked at reasons for blogging, and how to set your blog apart from the other nail polish blogs out there, it's time to look at what kind of commitment it will take.

The general advice is that you should post on a regular basis (at least 2-3 times a week), at least while you are trying to build up a following. I'm sure we've all had the experience where we find a great blog. They seem to post regularly, then suddenly it stops. One, two, maybe three weeks or more goes by and we don't see a post from our new favourite blog. I don't know about you, but I tend to loose interest, and I'll look for other new blogs to follow.

Here's a general estimate based on a schedule of blogging three times a week:
  • Manicures: 3 x 1 hour each = 3 hours (allow more time if you do detailed nail art, or want to show swatches of several polishes in one blog post)
  • Editing photos: approx. 30 minutes for each manicure/post = 1.5 hours
  • Writing and editing posts: 30 minutes for each post = 1.5 hours
  • Updating social media sites, emails, responding to comments: 20 min x 3 posts = 1 hour
  • Total: 7 hours

Even with a very basic blog, you're still looking at around 7 hours, or almost a full day's work. But many bloggers spend much more than that. 

Here's a breakdown of how much time I spend blogging each week. Keep in mind that I built up to this. I didn't spend this much time when I first started.
  • Swatching: 10 hours (I'm slow, so this results in 10-14 polishes swatched)
  • Nail art (based on two challenge manis per week): 6 hours
  • Editing photos: average 1 hour per post, 5 posts per week = 5 hours
  • Writing and editing posts: 1 hour per post, 5 posts per week = 5 hours
  • Updating social media, responding to emails and comments = 30 min. x 6 days/week = 3 hours
  • Total: 29 hours

Of course this is an approximation - some weeks I spend more, some less. It really depends on what I have planned, my energy levels, and my other work.

So after reading this, you may decide that blogging takes up too much time. Don't worry, our next post will be on blogging formats, and I'll cover microblogging. ;)

Let's Hear Your Thoughts! 

Why do you want to blog? Do you think you have a focus that sets your blog apart from the others?

If you've already started blogging, how much time do you spend on your blog?

See also:
Introducing the Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp: Kickstart Your Nail Polish Blog!

30 September 2013

Introducing the Beginner Blogger's Bootcamp: Kickstart Your Nail Polish Blog!

Hi everyone! After much contemplation and procrastination, I'm launching my new series for newbie bloggers. I remember being a new blogger searching for information online about starting a nail polish blog. I found lots of great blog posts, but very few comprehensive sources that would take me through starting a blog. I envisioned this as being that comprehensive source to turn to. My plan is to archive it on this site, giving it a dedicated page, so that it will not only be useful to new bloggers today, but also those starting blogs in the future.

Curious? Read on...

What Is It?

You might want to think of this as a series of mini classes or workshops, or for those of you who have already started blogging, a refresher on some of the essentials. A new post will be published once a week on a topic, beginning with the most basics of starting a blog, such as deciding what platform to use, then moving onto more advanced topics like photographing and writing reviews.

Each post will be informative, drawing from my own experiences, the experiences of other bloggers, and my research. But there will also be at times short exercises to apply what you're reading, as well as links to other resources on the web. 

Who Is It For?

I can really see this series being useful to three groups of people:
  • Those who haven't started blogging, but want to learn how to start a blog and what is involved in a nail polish blog
  • Those who are new (or relatively new) to blogging. They may have started a blog in the last few weeks or months and need some direction
  • Those who have been blogging for awhile (more than a few weeks or months), but still feel like new bloggers, or want to redefine their blog

Even within such a small niche such as nail polish blogging, there are so many different types of bloggers. Some of these posts will appeal to all new bloggers, for example the posts on blogging platforms or taking photos. However, I've really envisioned this series as appealing to those who want to make their blogs bigger. By that I mean they want to grow the audience of their blog, reach more people, and even attract the attention of companies and indie makers who will want to work with them. There are other bloggers who don't care about things like followers and pageviews, and that's okay too, but they might not find some of the posts useful.

Why Me?

I started blogging over a year ago, first on Tumblr, then later on Blogger. I may not be the most experienced blogger, but I have learned a lot in that past year, and I've come to a point where I want to pass on that information and knowledge. I also like to do a lot of reading on the subject of blogging, so in these posts I'll be speaking both from my experiences and from the research I've done. 

What Can You Expect?

Here's a tentative list of topics that will be covered over the next several weeks. If there's something you'd like to see covered but it's not here, leave a comment.
  • Defining your niche and reasons for blogging
  • Blogging platforms
  • Taking photos
  • Editing photos
  • Providing unique content
  • Building a following
  • Writing reviews and working with brands
  • Using social media
  • Managing your workload and staying motivated

Final Thoughts

I realize this series might not be for everyone. If that's you, don't worry, I plan to do other series in the future, and hopefully they will interest you more. One of my main motivations for doing this series was that I wanted to take what I've learned through my experiences and my research and bring it together in a way that made sense for me, and ideally for others. 

If you're a new blogger, or thinking about starting a blog, I hope these posts are helpful for you. If anything here stand out, I'd love to hear about it! Your feedback is very important to me. :)

Stay tuned next week on Monday evening for our next bootcamp post!

Tell me: how many newbie bloggers are out there? How do you learn about blogging, from reading or from experience (by doing it), or both?

10 September 2013

July/August Recap and September Blogging Goals

Hi everyone! It's been awhile since I've done a blogging goals post and I was reluctant to post this since, in the words of my mother, "It's almost half way through September." Thanks for the reminder mom! *sarcasm* However, I feel the need to look at some accomplishments and to have some direction in my blogging.

I've also included some photos of my stronger nail art designs from July and August. Click on the caption to be taken to the original post!

29 July 2013: piCture pOlish Blog Fest

July and August Recap

I didn't set any goals for August, but I did set some goals for July. So let's see how I did:

Goal #1: Put together a media kit for this blog. Check! I did this with some feedback from the lovely Deborah at Love. Varnish, chocolate and more... It still needs some designy work but it's ready to go if there's a need for it.

12 July 2013: 31 Day Challenge: Day One, Red

Goal #2: Continue to do one collections review a week. Fail! I didn't quite accomplish this one, only reviewing three collections in July and 2.5 in August. Here's the collections I did review:
  • Dior Sparkling Shine 2013 
  • Rainbow Honey Summer of 199X
  • Contrary Polish Color Context 
  • Essie Fall 2013 "For the Twill Of It"
  • Jindie Nails Summer Chic Collection
  • China Glaze Autumn Nights (part one)

Goal #3: Continue to post six times per week. Pass. Some weeks I post 6 times per week, other times it was five times per week. I'm happy if I post five times per week, but six is still something I strive for.

3 August 2013: 31 Day Challenge: Day Seven, Black and White

Goal #4: Post two video tutorials this month. Ultra fail! I didn't do any videos, poor YouTube subscribers. I want to do more videos, but the thought of doing them makes me feel super anxious. Maybe I shouldn't put pressure on myself to do this.

Goal #5: Redesign this blog. Check! Hurray!! I redesigned my blog at the very end of July and I love it. :)

Goal #6: Complete a tutorial for my stained glass nails. Check! Another hurray!! I did a tutorial for the piCture pOlish Blog Fest.

23 July 2013: Guest Post at The Nailasaurus

Highlights From July and August

Despite struggling with motivation, and the summer being sort of a down time with people going away for vacations, I felt like I did a lot of good things. For me, these are my strongest blogging moments during this period:

1. piCture pOlish Blog Fest: I spent forever and a day on my design and I was disappointed when I wasn't selected for one of the awards but in the end it was a great experience. I highly recommend this for nail art/nail polish bloggers. There were so many great designs, many by bloggers I hadn't heard of, I found some new bloggers to follow, and a lot of bloggers visited this site - many which seemed to be first time visitors. It was like an online gallery hop. :)

2. The 31 Day Challenge: Lindsey from Wondrously Polished and I started this in July, and although we are not doing it everyday, it's still a challenge. Not all my designs have been winners, but I've made some of my strongest nail art pieces as part of this challenge. You can see all of them here.

3. Stats: In terms of pageviews, it remained constant with close to 30K pageviews for both July and August. In terms of social media stats, I don't have accurate numbers for the end of June/beginning of July, but by the end of August, this blog had 595 followers on GFC, 660 on Bloglovin', 1040 likes on Facebook, 7000 followers on Instagram, and 2585 on Tumblr. I continued to be floored by all the support! Thank you everyone!

Goal #1: Complete two tutorials, either video or photo. I haven't decided yet on what to do tutorials for, probably two of my popular nail art designs. If you have any suggestions send me an email or leave a comment.

28 August 2013: 31 Day Challenge: Day 14, Flowers

Goal #2: Begin a new series of posts - tentatively titled "Beginner Blogger's Boot Camp." This would be a series of informative and how-to posts for newbie bloggers, or bloggers who feel they need a refresher on the basics. I'm still working on details but this will probably be once a week and cover a variety of topics such as photographing nails, blogging platforms, social media, etc. Again, if you want to see a specific topic covered, let me know!

Goal #3: Continue to post 6 days a week. This has been an ongoing goal and one I'm still striving for.

31 July 2013: 31 Day Challenge: Day Six, Violet

So that's it! I'm keeping it short and sweet with the goals. Did you set any blogging goals for the month?

06 July 2013

Blogging Goals July 2013

Hi everyone! I have my monthly installment of my blogging goals along with a few pictures of my cat Tenouki, for no other reason than I think she's cute and I want to add some pictures to this blog post. ;)

I've decided to divide my goals into two categories - ongoing and new goals. Some of the ongoing goals are things I didn't accomplish last month, others I'm trying to make habitual. For me it usually takes several months for something to become a habit. 

"What do you mean you need the case to your lightbox?"

Ongoing Goals

Goal #1: Put together a media kit for this blog. This was one of my goals from last month that I didn't accomplish. I'm crossing my fingers that I can get to it this month. You might want to check out my goals from last month (link) for a bit more on this.

Goal #2: Continue to do one collections review a week. Here's the collections reviews I'm planning and/or considering for this month:

  • Rainbow Honey Summer of 199X
  • Deborah Lippmann Summer 2013 Mermaids
  • Dior Sparkling Shine

Goal #3: Continue to post six times per week. I didn't quite achieve this last month, so I will make a better attempt to do it this month.

Goal #4: Post two video tutorials this month. This goal was badly neglected last month, and my poor YouTube channel hasn't seen much action for over a month. :(

"I can haz a cocoon."

New Goals

Goal #5: Redesign this blog. Last month my goal was to research options for redesigning this site, and I found some good premium templates. So accomplishing this goal will involve settling on a template and other options I want to add (i.e. getting social media buttons, maybe a signature, etc.)

Goal #6: Complete a tutorial for my stained glass nails. Ever since I did my stained glass nails over the holidays, I've had many requests for a tutorial. I won't redo this design but I'm thinking I'll do a different stained glass design along with a picture tutorial. 

So that's it for this month. I'm trying to keep things manageable by focusing on goals I didn't accomplish last month, and not adding too many new goals. 

What do you think of my goals? Did you set goals for yourself this month?

02 July 2013

June Recap: Blogging Goals and Stats

Hi everyone! Before I start, I was featured over at Peace, Love & Polish as the July blogger of the month. If you are interested in reading about how I got into blogging, and why I blog and do nail art, then you can read more about that in her post.

I've been slightly dreading this post because I wasn't able to achieve all of my goals, but I realize that's part of the process. Things won't always work out, but you still got to keep trying, right!?

For whatever reason I felt very exhausted most of the month, and kind of like I was pulled in so many directions. Maybe I tried to bite off more than I could chew, I don't know. :/

Regardless, I'll still be making new goals for this month, and I'm hoping July will work out better than June. 

Shimmer Polish Vivian stained glass nail art

Recap of Blogging Goals

Goal #1: Put together a media kit for this blog.
Fail! Wow. I didn't even get started on this one. But I still think it's important, so I'll make sure to do it this month.

Goal #2: Continue to do one collections review a week.

Check! I did one collections review a week, and one week I did two collections reviews. In case you missed them, here they are:

Lynnderella Her Name is Petal

Goal #3: Post two video tutorials this month.
Fail! I filmed one tutorial but haven't edited it yet, so this was another epic fail. I just left it until the last minute, and then had too much on my plate at the end of the month.

Goal #4: Continue to post six times per week.
Pass. There was one or two weeks where I only posted five days, but the other weeks I did post six times. 

Goal #5: Reach 30,000 pageviews for the month of June.
Pass. According to Google Analytics I had 30,784 pageviews in the month of June. Yipeee!! So why did I say pass? Well according to Blogger stats, my pageviews were just over 22,000. You may recall that in May I celebrated 22,000 pageviews for that month, an all-time record for me. That was according to Blogger stats (I installed Google Analytics at the end of May). So really my stats didn't go up at all. But I'm happy that Google Analytics says my blog is doing so well. :P
Goal #6: Research options for blog redesign.
Check! This one was fairly easy. I found some templates I liked but I'm so indecisive. I think I will work on a redesign over the summer.

Goal #7: New rules - you buy it you swatch it.
Epic Fail!! I set myself up for failure with this one. I bought a lot at the beginning of the month, then didn't have the time to swatch it all. Then the Rainbow Honey summer collection came out, so I told myself it was "for the blog." Then Harlow & Co. did a restock with some polishes I had been lemming, then it all went downhill from there. :(

I think maybe I made too many goals - something to keep in mind when I set my goals for July.

My Favourite Posts and Yours

I really loved a lot of polishes that I swatched, but in the end it was the nail art that stood out. These were two of my favourites:

Simple spring/summer florals inspired by Mr. Candiipants

And these were my most popular posts as determined by you. These posts had the highest pageviews for this month:

Jindie Nails Princess Breath

What the Numbers Have to Say

Much of the numbers and stats have to do with the giveaway, but it's still nice to see this little blog of mine growing. Will Paint Nails for Food currently has just over 5800 followers on Instagram, 2000 on Tumblr, 860 followers on Facebook, 530 on GFC, and 475 on Bloglovin'. I continue to be bowled away by all the support. Thank you everyone!

As for pageviews, Google Analytics is supposed to be more accurate than Blogger stats, so I'll be using those. As I said above, I had just over 30,700 pageviews, with over 18,800 visitors, and 11,100 of those were unique visitors. I don't know whether that's good/bad/normal/not normal, but it seems good to me. I'm just trying to continue to do my best and hopefully others will get something from this blog as well.

What do you think of my June recap? How did you do on your monthly goals?

05 June 2013

Blogging Goals June 2013

Hi everyone! I finally settled on my goals for this month and what I want to accomplish. I may have set the bar very high for myself, but hopefully I can accomplish most, if not all of these. Some of these are the same goals I had for myself last month, but they are things I want to continue doing. So let's see what I've set myself up for, shall we?! :)

My cat Tenouki, probably not setting any goals -
unless it's to get fur all over my journal ;)

Goal #1: Put together a media kit for this blog. I first read about a media kit over at Lacquerheads of Oz, and I think it will be a good thing to have on hand. Also, I'd like to start approaching more mainstream brands - mainly so that I can continue to review these polishes without draining my bank account - and a media kit might give me an edge in that respect. We'll see! ;)

Goal #2: Continue to do one collections review a week. I've got two already completed and so I just need to photograph two more! I feel confident that I can achieve this one!

Goal #3: Post two video tutorials this month. I thought about one a week but they are an awful lot of work. But I do enjoy doing them so I want to keep up the momentum. Let me know if there's anything you'd like to see a video tutorial of. Maybe a nail art design I did in the past, how I paint my nails, nail care, etc.

Goal #4: Continue to post six times per week. I think this was part of the reason this blog did so well last month in terms of traffic and pageviews. It makes sense, more posts means more blog traffic. But it was also good for getting through all the things I wanted to post.

Goal #5: Reach 30,000 pageviews for the month of June. Well I don't really have control over this one, but there's things I can do that will increase the likelihood of it happening. And how you ask? First, I can continue to post interesting content on a regular basis. And second, by sharing my posts with makers and retailers, something I don't do often enough. And then there's always my 500 Facebook likes contest, that shouldn't hurt! ;)

Tenouki: "Hey, stop taking pictures and pet me already!"

Goal #6: Research options for blog redesign. I need a makeover, need I say more? I don't really have much by way of design skills so I want to explore all my options from custom designs to good sources for free templates, and everything in between.

Goal #7: New rules - you buy it you swatch it. No-buys don't work for me. I'll give you a scenario, and you tell me if it's familiar. You are going to go on one of those "no-buys" that everyone seems to be doing. Knowing that there will be a dry spell, you either splurge on purchases before the no-buy, or you go crazy buying polish after the no-buy is complete. Instead I'm implementing a new rule. Everything I buy needs to be swatched, and no more buying until I've swatched my last purchase. If this works out expect to see lots of random swatch spam posts. I think it will be good though, a lot of my purchases do not end up on the blog.

So that's it for the goals. Ambitious, maybe? I definitely have my work cut out for me this month.

Do you set goals for yourself or for your blog? If so, I'd love to hear what kinds of goals you set. :)

30 May 2013

May in a Nutshell and Recap of Blogging Goals

Hi everyone! Tomorrow is a busy day on this blog with a guest post and swatches of some of the new KBShimmer polishes, so I'm doing my monthly recap a day early.

Earlier this month I posted my blogging goals for the month of May. This was my first time doing this, and I liked having something to work towards. It also gave me more focus and structure in terms of the direction I wanted to take this blog in. So I'm currently working on compiling my June goals. But first let's do a recap and see what I did/didn't accomplish.

Click on the picture captions to be taken to the original blog post.

Nail art foil and stud manicure
Polish Addict Nail Color Unicorn Love

Recap of Blogging Goals

Goal #1: Go on a no-buy for at least one week in the month of May.
Check! However, I'm not sure if the no-buy is the best way to curb my spending on nail polish, so I'm thinking about another way to do this. 

Goal #2: Post 6 days a week.
Pass. I posted six days a week for the first two weeks, but the third week I got a bit burnt out and only did five posts. I'm on tract to post six times this week, maybe even seven. I found the extra post really helped in terms of getting through my long list of swatches to post.

Goal #3: Increase my blog presence on Facebook. My goal is to have 500 likes by the end of the month.
Check!! I'm currently have 580 likes on Facebook, so I'm putting together my 500 likes giveaway as we speak. 

Goal #4: Post one collection review per week.
Check!! I posted more collection reviews this month than any month previously, in fact some weeks I posted two collections. In case you missed them, here they are:

Jindie Nails HipStar from the Spring Chic Collex

Different Dimension Wish You Were Here from the Echoes Collection

My Favourite Posts and Yours

I liked a lot of nail art I did, but there wasn't anything that I absolutely loved or that really stood out. But here's my favourite posts from this month:

Serum No. 5 Day Glow

Glitter gradient with Shimmer Polish Sarah

And here's my most popular posts as determined by you! These are the posts from May with the highest pageviews. 

Essie Boom Boom Room from the 2013 Neon Collection

Numbers, Numbers, Numbers!

Do you want to know my stats? In terms of followers and such, Will Paint Nails for Food currently has about 5400 followers on Instagram, 1900 on Tumblr, 580 on Facebook, 393 on GFC and a little over 300 on Bloglovin'. I still can't believe people tune in to look at and read what I post. Thanks so much everyone!

As for pageviews, this month was HUGE! Over a week ago I hit 50K all time pageviews. For a six-month-old blog, I think that's pretty awesome. I currently have just over 58K all time pageviews. For the month of May, this blog had 21,500 pageviews, an all time record. To give you a sense of how huge of an accomplishment that is, last month I had just over 13K pageviews, and that was the first month I broke 10K pageviews in a month. Yeah!! :D

So that's it for my monthly recap! Stay tuned for my June goals, I'll be posting those in the next few days. :)
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